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Navigate this workPericles
Act 2, scene 1
Fishermen in Pentapolis provide the shipwrecked Pericles with clothing and then pull his armor from the sea. They agree to help him journey to King Simonides’ court to take part in a tournament for the king’s daughter’s birthday.Enter Pericles, wet.
0545 Yet cease your ire, you angry stars of heaven!
0546 Wind, rain, and thunder, remember earthly man
0547 Is but a substance that must yield to you,
0548 And I, as fits my nature, do obey you.
0549 5 Alas, the seas hath cast me on the rocks,
p. 470550 Washed me from shore to shore, and left my breath
0551 Nothing to think on but ensuing death.
0552 Let it suffice the greatness of your powers
0553 To have bereft a prince of all his fortunes;
0554 10 And, having thrown him from your wat’ry grave,
0555 Here to have death in peace is all he’ll crave.
Enter three Fishermen.
FIRST FISHERMAN 0556 What ⌜ho,⌝ Pilch!
SECOND FISHERMAN 0557 Ha, come and bring away the nets!
FIRST FISHERMAN 0558 What, Patchbreech, I say!
THIRD FISHERMAN 0559 15What say you, master?
FIRST FISHERMAN 0560 Look how thou stirr’st now! Come
0561 away, or I’ll fetch thee with a wanion.
THIRD FISHERMAN 0562 Faith, master, I am thinking of the
0563 poor men that were cast away before us even now.
FIRST FISHERMAN 0564 20Alas, poor souls, it grieved my heart
0565 to hear what pitiful cries they made to us to help
0566 them, when, welladay, we could scarce help
THIRD FISHERMAN 0568 Nay, master, said not I as much
0569 25 when I saw the porpoise how he bounced and tumbled?
0570 They say they’re half fish, half flesh. A plague
0571 on them! They ne’er come but I look to be washed.
0572 Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea.
FIRST FISHERMAN 0573 Why, as men do a-land: the great
0574 30 ones eat up the little ones. I can compare our rich
0575 misers to nothing so fitly as to a whale: he plays
0576 and tumbles, driving the poor fry before him and
0577 at last ⌜devours⌝ them all at a mouthful. Such
0578 whales have I heard on a’ the land, who never leave
0579 35 gaping till they swallowed the whole parish—
0580 church, steeple, bells and all.
PERICLES, ⌜aside⌝ 0581 A pretty moral.
THIRD FISHERMAN 0582 But, master, if I had been the sexton,
0583 I would have been that day in the belfry.
p. 49SECOND FISHERMAN 0584 40Why, man?
⌜THIRD⌝ FISHERMAN 0585 Because he should have swallowed
0586 me too. And when I had been in his belly, I would
0587 have kept such a jangling of the bells that he should
0588 never have left till he cast bells, steeple, church, and
0589 45 parish up again. But if the good King Simonides
0590 were of my mind—
PERICLES, ⌜aside⌝ 0591 Simonides?
THIRD FISHERMAN 0592 We would purge the land of these
0593 drones that rob the bee of her honey.
0594 50 How from the ⌜finny⌝ subject of the sea
0595 These fishers tell the infirmities of men,
0596 And from their wat’ry empire recollect
0597 All that may men approve or men detect!—
0598 Peace be at your labor, honest fishermen.
SECOND FISHERMAN 0599 55Honest good fellow, what’s that? If
0600 it be a day fits you, search out of the calendar, and
0601 nobody look after it!
0602 May see the sea hath cast upon your coast—
SECOND FISHERMAN 0603 What a drunken knave was the sea
0604 60 to cast thee in our way!
0605 A man whom both the waters and the wind
0606 In that vast tennis court hath made the ball
0607 For them to play upon entreats you pity him.
0608 He asks of you that never used to beg.
FIRST FISHERMAN 0609 65No, friend, cannot you beg? Here’s
0610 them in our country of Greece gets more with begging
0611 than we can do with working.
SECOND FISHERMAN, ⌜to Pericles⌝ 0612 Canst thou catch any
0613 fishes, then?
PERICLES 0614 70I never practiced it.
SECOND FISHERMAN 0615 Nay, then, thou wilt starve sure,
0616 for here’s nothing to be got nowadays unless thou
0617 canst fish for ’t.
0618 What I have been I have forgot to know,
0619 75 But what I am want teaches me to think on:
0620 A man thronged up with cold. My veins are chill
0621 And have no more of life than may suffice
0622 To give my tongue that heat to ask your help—
0623 Which, if you shall refuse, when I am dead,
0624 80 For that I am a man, pray you see me buried.
FIRST FISHERMAN 0625 Die, quotha? Now gods forbid ’t, an I
0626 have a gown. Here, come, put it on; keep thee
0627 warm. ⌜Pericles puts on the garment.⌝ Now, afore
0628 me, a handsome fellow! Come, thou shalt go home,
0629 85 and we’ll have flesh for ⌜holidays,⌝ fish for fasting
0630 days, and, ⌜moreo’er,⌝ puddings and flapjacks, and
0631 thou shalt be welcome.
PERICLES 0632 I thank you, sir.
SECOND FISHERMAN 0633 Hark you, my friend. You said you
0634 90 could not beg?
PERICLES 0635 I did but crave.
SECOND FISHERMAN 0636 But crave? Then I’ll turn craver
0637 too, and so I shall ’scape whipping.
PERICLES 0638 Why, are ⌜your⌝ beggars whipped, then?
SECOND FISHERMAN 0639 95O, not all, my friend, not all; for if
0640 all your beggars were whipped, I would wish no
0641 better office than to be beadle.—But, master, I’ll go
0642 draw up the net.⌜He exits with Third Fisherman.⌝
0643 How well this honest mirth becomes their labor!
FIRST FISHERMAN 0644 100Hark you, sir, do you know where
0645 you are?
PERICLES 0646 Not well.
FIRST FISHERMAN 0647 Why, I’ll tell you. This ⌜is⌝ called Pentapolis,
0648 and our king the good Simonides.
PERICLES 0649 105“The good Simonides” do you call him?
FIRST FISHERMAN 0650 Ay, sir, and he deserves so to be called
0651 for his peaceable reign and good government.
p. 53PERICLES 0652 He is a happy king, since he gains from his
0653 subjects the name of “good” by his government.
0654 110 How far is his court distant from this shore?
FIRST FISHERMAN 0655 Marry, sir, half a day’s journey. And
0656 I’ll tell you, he hath a fair daughter, and tomorrow
0657 is her birthday; and there are princes and knights
0658 come from all parts of the world to joust and tourney
0659 115 for her love.
PERICLES 0660 Were my fortunes equal to my desires, I
0661 could wish to make one there.
FIRST FISHERMAN 0662 O, sir, things must be as they may;
0663 and what a man cannot get he may lawfully deal
0664 120 for his wife’s soul.
Enter the two ⌜other⌝ Fishermen, drawing up a net.
SECOND FISHERMAN 0665 Help, master, help! Here’s a fish
0666 hangs in the net like a poor man’s right in the law:
0667 ’twill hardly come out. Ha! Bots on ’t, ’tis come at
0668 last, and ’tis turned to a rusty armor.
0669 125 An armor, friends? I pray you let me see it.
⌜They pull out the armor.⌝
0670 Thanks, Fortune, yet, that after all ⌜thy⌝ crosses
0671 Thou givest me somewhat to repair myself;
0672 And though it was mine own, part of my heritage
0673 Which my dead father did bequeath to me
0674 130 With this strict charge even as he left his life,
0675 “Keep it, my Pericles; it hath been a shield
0676 ’Twixt me and death,” and pointed to this brace,
0677 “For that it saved me, keep it. In like necessity—
0678 The which the gods protect thee ⌜from⌝—⌜may ’t⌝
0679 135 defend thee.”
0680 It kept where I kept, I so dearly loved it,
0681 Till the rough seas, that spares not any man,
0682 Took it in rage, though calmed have given ’t again.
0683 I thank thee for ’t; my shipwrack now’s no ill
0684 140 Since I have here my father gave in his will.
p. 55FIRST FISHERMAN 0685 What mean you, sir?
0686 To beg of you, kind friends, this coat of worth,
0687 For it was sometime target to a king;
0688 I know it by this mark. He loved me dearly,
0689 145 And for his sake I wish the having of it,
0690 And that you’d guide me to your sovereign’s court,
0691 Where with it I may appear a gentleman.
0692 And if that ever my low fortune’s better,
0693 I’ll pay your bounties; till then, rest your debtor.
FIRST FISHERMAN 0694 150Why, wilt thou tourney for the lady?
0695 I’ll show the virtue I have borne in arms.
FIRST FISHERMAN 0696 Why, do ’ee take it, and the gods give
0697 thee good on ’t.
SECOND FISHERMAN 0698 Ay, but hark you, my friend, ’twas
0699 155 we that made up this garment through the rough
0700 seams of the waters. There are certain condolements,
0701 certain vails. I hope, sir, if you thrive, you’ll
0702 remember from whence you had them.
PERICLES 0703 Believe ’t, I will.⌜He puts on the armor.⌝
0704 160 By your furtherance I am clothed in steel,
0705 And spite of all the rupture of the sea,
0706 This jewel holds his ⌜biding⌝ on my arm.
0707 Unto thy value I will mount myself
0708 Upon a courser, whose ⌜delightful⌝ steps
0709 165 Shall make the gazer joy to see him tread.
0710 Only, my friend, I yet am unprovided
0711 Of a pair of bases.
SECOND FISHERMAN 0712 We’ll sure provide. Thou shalt have
0713 my best gown to make thee a pair; and I’ll bring
0714 170 thee to the court myself.
0715 Then honor be but a goal to my will;
0716 This day I’ll rise or else add ill to ill.